While the patent procedure is in progress, the private firms too are being identified for manufacture of these highly user-friendly and low-cost PPEs to give an impetus to the indigenization efforts.
The Indian Navy has taken the initiative to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Naval Dockyard with the involvement of Naval doctors, and successfully completed Testing and has got them validated by ICMR approved Testing Lab. This is the first time that a patent for PPE, an item which is very critical for those in the health sector is being filed.
According to the Indian Navy, “As a step further to facilitate the mass production of these PPE for all, have applied for a patent for the PPE design and materiel. This Naval PPE patent has further been filed by Intellectual Property Facilitation Cell of Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Science and Technology. The Naval PPE is unique in terms of specialized fabric researched and used to achieve better ‘breathability’ while meeting the stringent PPE Standards. This makes the PPE useful for medical staff working in hot and humid Indian climate.”
While the patent procedure is in progress, the private firms too are being identified for manufacture of these highly user-friendly and low-cost PPEs to give an impetus to the indigenization efforts. “Interested firms and startups are being encouraged to take up licensed production for the Indian market.”
Importance of PPEs in the fight against COVID-19
The PPEs are a must for all in the health care sector, as well as the patients, the visitors and now even the general public is looking for these to protect themselves while going to work.
With the support from the government multiple private agencies have commenced the work of importing specialized machines to manufacture standard PPE kits.
The PPEs which are being manufactured in the country have to meet the stringent standards as has been stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO). These PPE gowns have to fluid repellant and sterile, along with a feature of either re-usable or disposable. Further, point of care risk assessment should be done by individuals where ever a potential of contact between an individual and the patient or patients’ environment is likely to spread germs.
Indigenous Manufacturing of PPE & Specifications
To meet the high demand evolving in the medical environment, the Indian government too has given necessary directives so as to facilitate productisation of PPEs indigenously. As per the regulations, all items supplied need to be accompanied with a Certificate of analysis from national/international labs indicating minimum conformation to the laid down standards.
Due to the scarcity of coveralls, and risk versus benefit measure, as a temporary measure in the present situation of the global pandemic of COVID-19, the fabric that cleared/passed ‘Synthetic Blood Penetration Resistance Test’ (ISO 16603) and garment that passed ‘Resistance to penetration by biologically contaminated solid particles (ISO 22612:2005)’can be too considered as the specification to manufacture.
The test for these two standards (ISO 16603 and ISO 22612:2005), can be performed in Indian laboratories and items can carry an expiry tag of five years.
Way Ahead for Indian MSMEs
In an effort to provide impetus to MSMEs and local industries, the initiative of Indian Navy to formally undertake the Transfer of Technology once the item is mature for production is considered to be the way ahead especially in times of this unstoppable pandemic.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in an interaction with the Defence Research and Development Organisation DRDO), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and other stakeholders had urged them to make’ COVID protection technology available for private industry to use. However, critical items which will be required post-lockdown like gloves, masks, face shields, PPEs have not reached the commercial market.
“Walking an extra mile for the national interest, as is being demonstrated by Indian Navy can be the way ahead for true self-reliance for the country which has gone all out to control the spread of COVID crisis,” stated an industry source.
Adding, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier this week urged all to focus on indigenization and this is the time when in an effort to ensure the true reflection of each of the major government agencies like OFB, DRDO, Science and Technology labs, filing of a patent for COVID related items should be made compulsory,” recommended a senior officer.
With everyone involved in crisis handling, all acclaimed innovations should be supported with the patenting procedure for the availability of the necessary items commercially.